I’m one of the small-time donors supporting the quixotic campaign of Bernie Sanders. That immediately tells you that in matters of grave importance, such as the future presidency of the United States, I listen to my heart even though I agree with the rational arguments of friends.

As a physician whose career has been devoted to helping individuals manage a difficult and expensive chronic condition, diabetes, I have strong opinions about health matters. I have tracked the runaway price inflation of analog insulin preparations for years. Seeing the struggles that patients have in paying for this life-saving medication, whether they have insurance or not, I can attest to the emotional distress and financial burden, as well as adverse health consequences, of our country’s inability to control medication costs.

When asked by a respected colleague to serve on the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee of Maine’s Community Health Options insurance company, I seized the opportunity to have a voice in their drug coverage policies. This has given me valuable insights into the financial challenges faced by insurers, including the impact of high-priced insulin as well as heavily-advertised new products.

I’ve felt proud to serve in this capacity when patients have acquired insurance and moved off the hospital’s “free care” rolls, and defended their coverage policies. I’m aware of the financial struggles that threaten Community Health Options’ viability. For all these reasons, I was disheartened to read the March 20 article reporting the doubling in pay of its two top executives.

Perhaps I’m another grumpy old man who decries the “corporatization” of my profession, and feels deeply the anguish of patients being pushed closer to the poverty level. I’m enough of a realist to know that America is not, and may never be, ready for Bernie’s revolution, but it warms the cockles of my heart to cheer him on.

John Devlin

Cape Elizabeth

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